EAST LYME, Conn. (CBSNewYork) – Connecticut health officials say the first person in the state has died from a deadly mosquito-borne virus spreading throughout the Tri-state area.
Connecticut’s Department of Public Health announced on Friday that an East Lyme resident died from Eastern Equine Encephalitis earlier this week.
EEE is rare and serious illness transmitted to humans by a mosquito bite and had already killed at least five people in the U.S. this year – including one case in New Jersey.
In severe cases, the virus can cause swelling in the brain, leading to death.
Authorities say the East Lyme resident was infected at some point in late August. That victim is the second confirmed case of EEE in Connecticut this year.
“Using insect repellent, covering bare skin, and avoiding being outdoors from dusk to dawn are effective ways to help keep you from being bitten by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes continue to be active until the first heavy frost,” DPH Commissioner Renée Coleman Mitchell warned Friday.
Common symptoms include fever, chills, and muscle and joint pain.
According to the CDC, about a third of infected patients die and many who survive experience ongoing neurological problems.
The CDC adds that there is also no human vaccine for EEE, making it even more dangerous.
Connecticut officials previously announced that mosquitoes in 12 towns have already tested positive for deadly brain-infecting virus.
There are at least three confirmed human cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in New Jersey. The first case was found back in August.